Captain’s Bait, Tackle and BBQ, the restaurant that opened at Bing’s Landing park in the Hammock in 2012, will expand its porch area by some 800 square feet, though its 200-seat restaurant will not be increasing capacity. The Flagler County Commission approved the change in the county-leased business at its meeting this morning (June 6).
Commissioners were concerned that the physical expansion of the 3,140-square-foot facility might increase congestion at the county park. But Jay Livingston, the attorney representing the restaurant, said that other than the restaurant’s popularity, there should be no effects on parking needs.
“The covered porch area, even though it appears as though it’s increasing the square footage, what it’s going to do is eliminate some of the overcrowding in the interior areas,” Heidi Petito, the county’s facilities director, said. There will be upgrades in flooring and seating. The plan is part of an $80,000 investment in the facility by Captain’s owners, according to the county, but at no cost to the county.
“I’d like to see some options to better utilize the parking,” Commissioner Frank Meeker said. “For example it’s very difficult to get to the parking on the south side and get back out.” He wants an overall plan on Bings and south of Bings.
The Hammock Community Association is opposed to the expansion. A representative of the association told the commission that Bing’s is primarily a county park and a recreation facility, and that the expansion was slated without enough notice for the association to study it. The representative asked the commission to table the matter until its members had a chance to analyze the proposal. “I think the county has gone beyond helping Captain’s, and they should appreciate what they have now,” the Hammock representative said. “But this expansion will create more problems for the park.” The representative added: “If you agree to this now, they’re going to come back and ask for more.”
The fact that we have a successful business that’s willing to upgrade and expand is good news, the kind of economic development that we want,” Rebecca DeLorenzo, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, said, opposing tabling the proposal. The owner of J.T. Seafood Shack and a member of the Hammock Business Association also lent his support to Captain’s. Another resident who often frequents the restaurant said the jamming in the parking lot is not necessarily related to Captain’s BBQ, but to the popularity of the park. “There’s more people in town, there’s more visitors coming down,” she said, urging the commission to consider expanding parking overall. “It’s not because of the restaurant.”
The restaurant is under a 10-year lease with the county, paying $660 a month in rent, or $7,920 a year. That increases by $480 a year.
“When there’s growth there will always be some opposition,” Chris Herrera, the owner of the restaurant, which employs 21 people, said, citing a petition in response filled with several hundred signatures supporting the expansion.
Barbara Revels, the county commission chairman, said she favored delaying the item to give the county a chance to study parking issues. But County Administrator Craig Coffey said improving parking “will take some time,” or about three months. “Whether we like it or not, we need more parking here and in other locations,” he added, citing the county’s growing population. It’s now exceeding 100,000. He said the parking problem is not necessarily related to the restaurant. “Those things aren’t just for Hammock residents. They’re for all residents.”
Commissioners ended up unanimously approving the proposal, stressing that there would be no net increase in seating capacity, but also directing the county administration to begin studying improvements to the parking areas.
My God I have never seen a more chicken shit commission. Worried about congestion? No wonder businesses avoid this place like the plague. IT’S A JUST A LITTLE BBQ JOINT SITTING UNDER SOME OLD OAK TREES WITH A DIRT PARKING LOT.
Yes, yes and all yes! That’s the idea helps local business like Captains and others maybe even (386) get parking or whatever it takes to keep them functioning. People literally come from other cities and states to try their food whether some in our local government understand that or not. This is where money should go, not to outside advertising companies in search of business to hopefully bring here. Captains, JT’s (386) and others down there have held their own. We all need to do our part to keep them functioning as anchors in the community. We all want those places we can send friends, family and associates to without the fear of the businesses disappearing overnight like many have over the years. Maybe the county, business owners and tax payers could come up with a way to get some nice public parking with a view of the Intracoastal somewhere in that vicinity, that everyone could benefit from even if it it cost a couple of dollars a car to park. I’ve been here long enough to see how it goes, also a local business owner with close to 30 years living here myself in Flagler county. Invest in your community first.
At the tax payers expense says
The rental price is absurd knowing the value of this location! Somebody knows somebody.
Hopefully we shall have a BIG voter turn-out this year to tell both the County and Palm Coast City
elected officials that WE THE PEOPLE are fed up with our elected politicians who no longer seem
to have very much common sense nor feel for what we need to get this area growing once more.
Leave it as is, last thing this world needs is more people and expansion.
Glad to see a local business expanding. Captain’s is a great place and BBQ second to my own. My family used to go there quite often until the prices became outrageous ($18.00 for two sandwiches, really?).
The 10 year rental contract is a poor decision made by this county. They sold the use of Bings for a song….what a shame or a sham??!??
Rick G says
I don’t get what the opposition is all about here. My wife and I frequent Captain’s at least once a month and we live in Ormond by the Sea. The BBQ is great. I have never witnessed a problem with parking or overcrowding. While the rent deal is a sweetheart businesses like this should be encouraged. Perhaps the rent could be a negotiating tool in Captain’s desire to expand.
Their prices are higher and the taxpayers are subsidizing this business by allowing them to rent this prime property for only $660 a month? I agree – they really DO “know somebody” – I’m sure lots of local businesses could use sweetheart deals like this!
Tear it down and build a giant gated community. That’ll make everyone happy.
The Dead Lake produces a rental income of $1,000. per month, the County paid $1.8 Million for the property. Quite a deal. Bings brings in $600. a month for a $10 Million piece of property. What’s wrong with the idiots we have running the County. Buy and a old for an inflated price then pour multi million into rehabbing it, build a multi million dollar for Bobby Ginn and collect no rent, Charter schools at the airport, Cakes Across America skips out on lease. I guess when you get elected in Flagler County you simply lose common sense.
Patrick Williams says
Y’all need to wake up. Captn’s is rated by Trip Advisor in the top ten bbq joints in the USA….and their prices are VERY REASONABLE for the quality. look around a 12 in Subway costs $7.00, a Starbucks Venti latte, $5…the quality of this BBQ is the best i have EVER had,,,,and its a quaint and funky spot, not all glitzed up. People who come here for tourism (dollars for the county) are always recommended to eat here. just saying….whats the problem here? I know…opinions are like…….XXXXXX everyone has one
Anonymous Resident says
The “sweetheart” deal that Captain’s and the County have that everyone is complaining about is an extremely common practice for Municipal Governments to attract and retain private business. While the deal is probably better than most similar deals, it is not out of the ordinary and very much a “common” practice. 10 years will go buy in a flash and then Captain’s will be paying a fair market rate for the rent. Without a 5-10 year buffer for growth and development, it would be extremely difficult for a small business to “take-off” unless they were selling a product that is proprietary and unique (not to mention one that people actually want). This deal allows both the business and county to mutually benefit.
I agree that that Hammock area and it’s natural setting is wonderful. However, this small property on County owned land hardly disrupts the natural beauty of the area. To the contrary, I believe it brings more people to see said beauty.
Further, Captain’s has gained national notoriety and many people travel from all over to enjoy the food. This brings tax dollars (from out of town) to the very county that has provided the so-called sweetheart deal. Without Captain’s, Bing’s is just another boat ramp with a run-down park that very few use and no tax dollars are brought into the county. (Those tax dollars are used to pay for roads, schools, etc.)
This idea that no growth is good growth is anti-progressive. Controlled growth (which this property and project very much are) is positive and progressive.
I guess some people just want the world to stop where it is (or was in the 50’s). Unfortunately for them, reality will always prevail.
We have the power to stop progress, we can all do it if we cared enough. There is no reason to sell our public land to profiteers. Have some self respect for your natural Florida and stop trying to build into some tourist attraction.
Flagler County must have a thousand parks, woodlands with trails & on the ICW & the beachfront yet one popular profitable eatery has the nerve to expand it’s capacity for comfortable occupancy for it’s patrons, some from other states spending cash here thereby helping boost the local economy……TERRIBLE.
BTW: These same wet blankets complaining wouldn’t be the same local Townfolk who brazenly strut their smelly flea & tick infested Poodles, Beagles, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians & Shih Tzus into grocery stores that sell foodstuffs to humans? Naw, couldn’t be, besides these mutts have got to be trained, registered & certified SERVICE ANIMALS!!!!!!!